Long dormant organisms, roused from their slumber by insidious international villains, threaten civilization with the unstoppable plague that spoiled Marco Polo’s trip home.
Yes, that Marco Polo, with whose travels Rollins (Black Order, 2006, etc.) begins a thriller that rockets from Christmas Island to the Washington suburbs to Rome, Constantinople and Cambodia. There’s no time to catch your breath when the fate of mankind may fall into the hands of The Guild, a gang of rascals reminiscent of Ian Fleming’s sadistic syndicates. They’ll stop at nothing! Whether it’s terrorizing a spunky old couple or unleashing bacteria with the power to turn happy South Sea islanders into maddened cannibals, The Guild will go anywhere and torture anybody in their quest to control the terrestrial balance of power and make tons of money while they do it. And what does the Venetian explorer have to do with modern mayhem? It seems that the glaring omissions in his travel diaries had to do with a little side trip into the East Indies, where his fleet encountered victims of a plague with no known cure other than a few bites of . . . And it is that very plague that the Guild has its fiendish grasp on. As soon as they figure out the antidote, the ruthless criminals can bio-terrorize the entire planet. Thank goodness for the resourcefulness and bottomless purse of Sigma Force, America’s semi-secret collection of sharp-shooting scientists and commando types who are thrown into the fight one nanosecond after Seichan, a sexy, vaguely Asian, possibly turn-coat Guild operative, careens on her motorcycle into the driveway of Sigma stalwart Commander Gray Pierce while he’s helping his mother clean up after a Fourth of July celebration. Seichan’s got a bullet in her gut and pursuers in her wake. Sigma Force will not sleep for weeks.
Relentless action in spectacular places and plenty of spurious science provide more than enough distraction from some fairly breathtaking coincidences and leaps of logic.